Q: For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us about yourself and your professional background.
A: My name is Robbert Suurland, 20 years old.
In July this year (2012) I attended the A. Lange & Sohne (Glashutte, Germany) workshop as related to their yearly competition: the F.A. Lange Scholarship and Watchmaking Excellence Award 2012. This year's challenge: design and build a watch date mechanism upon a ETA 6498.
Watches are my passion and hobby for many years already! I want to know all there is to know about the technique, specific design issues, the brand philosophy, etcetera. One could say, I'm a true watch aficionado!
Q: What made you decide to create a new watch brand?
A: That's an interesting story, actually. It happened when passion, opportunity and coincidence all came together at the right moment at the right place!
It all started approximately mid-2011 when I, by accident, during one of my 'Google' sessions, found a picture of a Salvamento Maritimo (Spanish Sea Rescue Service) Limited Edition watch designed and build by TWCO, a small Spanish watch brand. I was immediately struck by its design and I absolutely wanted to own one! Unfortunately there was no activity whatsoever. The brand was completely dormant, so to speak. It was only from that moment on, that I saw the opportunity, and possibility to awake the brand. I was boiling with ideas, new models, how to market it, etcetera. Another pure coincidence was that I managed to get in touch with the former owner and to make a long story short ... TWCO now is a EU registered trademark, owned by me.
It wasn't an easy job, and it took me quite some time, but I guess 'persistency wins'.
The best summary of the story is to end with the beginning: "when passion, opportunity and coincidence come together at the right moment and the right place", nice things can happen!
Q: Can you tell us about the history and concept behind TWCO?
A: Limited editions, like the Salvamento Maritimo I mentioned to you before, and a strong link to maritime/naval/military style watches. The concept is to make a professional watch at a high and very reliable quality level. A watch to be desired not only by professionals, but also by enthusiasts. A technical and very 'wearable' watch with a specific design feature. For example, the Sea Rescue Diver has the 3 minute radio silence markers on the dial. This feature is explained at twcowatches.com.
Q: Does TWCO stand for something? Tell us about the meaning behind the name.
A: TWCO stands for Technical Watch Co. referring to, and emphasizing, the strong technical foundation and design philosophy combined with the high level of quality that each TWCO watch will have.
Q: Can you tell us which brands you admire most in the market?
A: Bell&Ross and I will be happy to tell you why: I really admire what they have achieved in such a short period of existence. Besides, I really like their line of watches.
Q: Please tell us which diver’s watches you most admire.
A: The Blancpain X Fathoms to name one. This watch is one of my favorites because of the technical features, like the mechanical depth gauge. Not to mention the 5 minute retrograde counter for measuring decompression times.
Robbert Suurland (in the middle) at theF.A. Lange Scholarship and Watchmaking Excellence Award 2012
Q: Who are your idols in the watch industry?
A: Richard Mille is my idol. I like the way he designs and how he gets his watches produced. I also like his philosophy; he just designs what he wants to build and what he likes without making any concessions.He gets them build, whatever it takes. He is always crossing border lines, regarding the techniques. For example, the lightweight materials used are quite revolutionary.
Q: Who would you say are your closest competitors among diver watch brands?
A: I'd rather see them as 'the other watch brands', realizing I'm not the only one out there. If we speak in terms of 'quality', used materials and/or movements, water resistance, etcetera, then it would be easy for me to name a few. Of course the overall quality level must be high and compared to 'these other brands', a TWCO watch must be at least equal, and even better. But at the end my aim is to have TWCO to be THE desired brand: once you see one, you want one!
Q: Do you have a favorite watch?
A: That has to be my very own Sea Rescue Diver Orange, serial number XXXX, the approved prototype! Its my daily watch and until now the only one in the world! (not for long though ).
Besides my Sea Rescue Diver Orange, I very much like the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. Also the IWC Top Gun is one of my all-time favorites.
Q: What made you decide upon a divers watch, are you into diving yourself?
A: I'm not a diver myself, but I really love a classic diver watch. The technique behind it, the design, etcetera. I guess it was just meant to be that I came across TWCO!
Q: As you know, divers watches is a very competitive niche, how do you expect to achieve stand out with TWCO?
A: A TWCO will stand out because of its clean dial, specific design features, finish, less is more, always a high quality mechanical movement, sapphire crystal, etc.
A technical, and at the same time a very comfortable, and 'wearable' watch. Last but not least, although it's a matter of taste, an appealing design: you just want to have it and wear it (just like I did).
My ultimate goal is to create a watch that is immediately recognized as a TWCO!
Q: Please tell us about the TWCO watch collection, where it's made, which parts and movement(s) are used.
A: The first and entry model is my so-called Sea Rescue Diver, 60 ATM/600 meters, in 316L SS, SS bracelet and complete with silicon strap and tools to interchange.
Future plans? I have plenty of ideas and designs here! A mid-level 160 ATM diver, maybe a high level 320 ATM diver.
But first of all, I want to make a steady and solid start with TWCO, no rush, no concessions to my quality and design standards!
The idea is to have a nice and complete range of divers watches. The next step could be a collection of pilots watches.
The production is subcontracted at several places. The Sea Rescue Diver will be equipped with the Miyota 9015 automatic movement. This and every future TWCO will always have: a high grade SS case and bracelet, sapphire crystal, a high quality level and an outstanding design.
Again, and I realize this is not easy: what I really want to create is a watch that is immediately recognized as a TWCO!
Q: What made you decide on an official forum with Watchuseek?
A: For me WUS is the first and very best choice! Largest on the web, a high quality good looking and extremely well informed website. This is the place to present myself and my brand, and ... the people I want to reach are on Watchuseek! Last but not least: Ernie is a Champion in his league!
Q: What will be the price point for TWCO watches?
A: The Sea Rescue Diver will start at € 895.= (incl. 21% VAT / EU sales), € 740,= (excl. taxes / non-EU sales). FREE SHIPMENT WORLDWIDE!
Have a look at twcowatches.com and kindly spread the word!
Watchuseek likes to thank Robbert Suurland for his time, and we wish him the best of luck with his new brand TWCO.
Interview by Ernie Romers and Michael West for Watchuseek (c) 2012